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Musharraf- still in the line of fire

May 17, 2010

– By Mr. Ahmad Subhani

Belonging as I do to a middle class family and, as such , considering myself to be a representative voice of the silent majority, I hereby venture to  discuss the  state of affairs prevailing in our dear homeland, Pakistan. As a non- partisan Pakistani, I , after a lapse of long period of time found the reign of former President, Pervez Musharraf (1999-2008) as a redeeming feature  in the not so enviable history of Pakistan. Particularly, his 3-year ‘ pre-political’ period in office from 1999 to 2002 can be described as the golden period in its checkered history. In1999, Musharraf inherited a completely dysfunctional Pakistan with its economy touching the rock bottom and it was on the verge of being declared a failed state. Assisted by a team of expert technocrats and after putting in great efforts, he was able to revive the sinking economy and put it on even keel. This earned him appreciation and admiration from far and wide. This brisk pace of development, however, slowed down after a political government was inducted in office after 2002. And unluckily for Musharraf and more so for Pakistan, certain wrong tactical decisions taken by him during 2007 led to his downfall and exit from corridors of power. Then the present ‘democratically’ elected Peoples Party government took over. I need not go into details as to what this regime has done to this country and its hapless people during its more than two-year old rule. Suffice it to say, that whatever good work Musharraf had done in 8 years has been reduced to naught by the incumbent regime within two years of its  stay at the helm, so much so, that to-day Pakistan is being rated as one of the failed states in the World.

Ever since his exit from the scene in 2008, a number of baseless or frivolous charges have been levelled against Pervez Musharraf  by his opponents and their hangers on to taint his image in the eyes of  the masses. However, the disastrous policies pursued by the incumbent regime have landed the masses in deep trouble causing them unprecedented misery and hardships. This can be gauged from the fact that whereas popularity graph of Pervez Musharraf is soaring higher by the day, that of the present rulers is constantly on the decline.  This development has naturally unnerved the ruling junta, who are therefore on the lookout to fabricate lies and deceptions about Musharraf, every now and then, to tarnish his image in the eyes of all and sundry. This malafide campaign has gained further momentum with the publication of U.N.O. Enquiry Commission’s Report on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination wherein blame for her assassination has also been put on Musharraf‘s shoulders. Since its publication on 15-4-2010, a lot of discussion has been going around in the print and electronic media. In this context, certain pertinent questions have arisen, jotted down as under, answers to which may well lead to the factual position of the case.

1. Soon after Benazir’s assassination, President A.A. Zardari declared in unequivocal terms that he knew who her killers were. He has failed to disclose their names to date?

b Why Zardari disallowed autopsy of Benazir’s body which was necessary to ascertain the real cause of her death?

3. Why forensic report to ascertain who was guilty in the case, has not been processed?

4. On the eve of her return to Pakistan, then prior to her procession taken out in Karachi and then again before her participation in the rally at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi, she was warned of  imminent terrorist attacks against her by Pervez Musharraf, Intelligence Agencies of the U.S., U.K. and others, Why did she brush aside all these advices and exposed herself to  danger?

5. As per reports, some 1100 policemen and other security staff guarded the venue of her meeting at Liaqat Bagh and she remained safe there .It is only after she left the venue of the meeting, went to road outside and stuck  her head out of the ‘sun-roof’ of her  armored vehicle that she was attacked. Why did she break the security protocol by exposing herself and presenting herself as an easy target?

6. Why did the ‘back-up’ black Mercedez bullet proof car occupied by her security incharge, Rehman Malik,Babar Awan etc. that was supposed to remain behind Benazir’s vehicle, left the spot and rushed to Islamabad leaving Benazir behind unguarded?

7. United Nation’s Report alleges that inadequate security provided by Musharraf led to the mishap. Musharraf being the Head of the State was not supposed to look after security arrangements; it was the duty of the establishment headed by the Chief Minister of the province to do the needful. UN Commission, has however, not held Musharraf personally responsible for the incident.

8. On whose orders the place of assassination was hosed? It has been alleged that the then Military Intelligence Chief, Maj. General Nadeem Ijaz did so and he reported the matter to the Army Chief, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Nadeem Ijaz denies that he ordered hosing of the spot. Also, Army Chief at that time was Gen. Kyiani who had taken over the charge from Musharraf about a month ago.

9. U.N.Commission contends that to identify the criminals was beyond the terms of their reference. Then why did they hold Musharraf responsible, by name? Also, why did they absolve the entire Zardari-Bhutto family, by name, of having any involvement in the case?

10. The misstating of facts as narrated at 7, 8 and 9 above, makes the UN Report suspect!

Return of Benazir to Pakistan was in pursuance of a ‘compromise deal’ between her and President Musharraf brokered by the USA and the UK–aim being that they would share the powers in the days to come. To do end in view, Mussharraf issued the notorious NRO thereby absolving Benazir of all corruption etc charges standing against her, enabling her to contest the forthcoming elections. In the then prevailing circumstance, Musharraf had but to do it so as to ensure his stay at the top. It was therefore unimaginable that he would remove Benazir out of his way after having done so much to accommodate her.

11. Finally, a thought provoking statement has  recently been issued by Zardari declaring that he wouldn’t take revenge from the murderers as” democracy has already extracted revenge”. The statement is not as simple as it seems to be. There is a lot more to it that stands undisclosed. It smells fishy, really!

To conclude, efforts have been and are being made by the incumbent rulers and their henchmen to divert the attention of the masses from their present miseries and agony telling them that Pervez Musharraf was responsible for their present fate. Thus, Musharraf has been made a scapegoat to cover up the worst possible governance and its disastrous effects on the lives of hapless citizens at the hands of a thoroughly corrupt and extremely incompetent regime.

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